The host of the popular television franchise The Bachelor in the United States is leaving the show after nearly 20 years. The confirmation was given by the ABC Entertainment network this Tuesday (8), after collective indignation at the racist comments.
Chris Harrison has hosted ABC’s reality The Bachelor and its spinoffs, The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, since 2002. He will not return to the show’s helm after leaving in February, according to ABC and producer Warner Horizon in a joint statement.
“Chris Harrison is stepping down as host of The Bachelor franchise,” the companies say. “We are grateful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him well on his new journey.”
Harrison said in an Instagram post that he had enjoyed a “really amazing long stint” as a presenter. “Although my two-decade journey is over, the friendships I made will last a lifetime,” he added.
Harrison’s future in the franchise has been in limbo since February. At the time, he made controversial comments in defense of contestant Rachael Kirkconnel, who won the season ended in March.
She was paired with Matt James, the first black protagonist in the show’s history. Images of Kirkconnell attending a racist-themed college party in 2018 appeared on social media while the program was airing.
Harrison’s comments sparked debate about the lack of diversity in the franchise. They also came at a time of widespread awakening in the United States after the 2020 mass protests over the murder of unarmed black men while in police custody.